Ahead of the panchayat polls, the Odisha government amended three laws to punish candidates who provide false information in the affidavit filed for the rural elections.
The ruling BJD government amended the Odisha Grama Panchayat Act, 1964, the Odisha Panchayat Samiti Act, 1959 and the Odisha Zilla Parishad Act, 1991 through an ordinance.
As per the ordinance, a candidate who himself or through his proposer, with intent to be elected in an election gives false information which he knows or has reason to believed to be false or conceals any information in his nomination paper or in his affidavit will be punishabed with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to six months, or be fined, or with both.
Similarly, any elected member of the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) will be disqualified, if he/she has not furnished an affidavit containing particulars relating to his criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualification at the time of filing nomination.
The state, which is impacted by facing natural disasters like cyclones, frequently, has given power to the Grama Panchayats and Panchayat Samities (blocks) for disaster management.
Now the gram panchayats and panchayat samities can prepare their own disaster management plans at village, panchayat and panchayat samiti level, carry out and facilitate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in disaster affected areas in accordance with state plan and district plan.
The two institutions can also undertake other measures necessary for disaster management. However, this provision has not been included in the Zilla Parishad Act.
Meanwhile, the state government issued a fresh draft seat reservation list for the post of Zilla Parishad (ZP) chairperson across 30 districts.
As per the draft notification, out of the 30 ZP chairperson seats, seven seats are reserved for ST candidates while five seats are reserved for SC candidates.
However, no seat has been kept reserved for Other Backward Classes as the Supreme Court recently directed not to reserve seats for them till proper enumerations of the community is done, sources said.